October 26, 2005

Sex-abuse report rocks Irish Church

Catholic World News

Oct. 26 (CWNews.com) - Both Church and government leaders in Ireland have been shaken by the October 25 publication of a report showing a systematic failure to curb sexual abuse by priests in the Diocese of Ferns.

The report, prepared under the direction of former Supreme Court Judge Frank Murphy, uncovered more than 100 allegations of abuse by 26 priests of the Ferns diocese. The report covered the years between 1962 and 2002; it was based on a government investigation that lasted more than 2 years.

The report on the Ferns investigation faulted police and local officials for their failure to follow up aggressively on complaints of sexual abuse. But the most scathing criticism was leveled against Church leaders who covered up charges, silenced accusers, and ordained "clearly unsuitable men into the priesthood."

The government investigation of the Ferns diocese was organized in 2002, shortly after the resignation of Bishop Brendan Comiskey. Bishop Comiskey had become the focal point for complaints about the Irish bishops' handling of sex-abuse cases, especially after the 1999 suicide of Father Sean Fortune, a priest of the Ferns diocese, who was facing criminal charges on a series of sex-abuse complaints.

Posted by kshaw at October 26, 2005 12:52 PM